Since taking office in 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris has been a major political target, and now Democratic heavyweights Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former California Sen. Barbara Boxer appear to have fired darts at the vice president from within her own party’s power circle.
Helen Hunt, Ron Livingston, and Gabrielle Carteris were on a Zoom conversation with Boxer when they expressed their concerns about Harris, calling her a “political liability.” If they do not support the Biden-Harris ticket again in 2024, President Joe Biden may find it more difficult to attend events like the one that collected $750,000 for him in 2020 at a charity event featuring Hollywood stars.
Warren has been apologizing for statements she made in a late January appearance on Boston public radio station WGBH that looked to some to imply Harris and President Biden are not on the same page after she was asked if the two should be running mates again in the upcoming 2024 election.
“I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team,” she responded. “I’ve known Kamala for a long time. I like Kamala. I knew her back when she was an attorney general, and I was still teaching, and we worked on the housing crisis together, so we go way back. But they need — they have to be a team, and my sense is they are — I don’t mean that by suggesting I think there are any problems. I think they are.”
One person close to Harris described the vice president’s office’s reaction to the interview as “pretty insulting,” according to CNN. Warren has now explained her remarks and tried to apologize to Harris, but the vice president has not returned her calls.
“I fully support the president’s and vice president’s reelection together and never intended to imply otherwise,” Warren told GBH. “They’re a terrific team with a strong record of delivering for working families.” Warren and Harris were candidates for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 2020. According to CNN, she tried to reach Harris but only talked with chief of staff Lorraine Voles, who answered her call.
Harris is no stranger to attacks from lawmakers and entertainers. In 2020, famed Atlanta music producer Jermaine Dupri chastised the vice president for her prosecution record as California Attorney General. A new study issued in 2022 showed that Harris got over 4,200 hateful comments on social media, and Twitter did little to deter or penalize those responsible.
According to the FiveThirtyEight polling site, Harris has a disapproval rating of 49.5 percent among the American people. It hit a peak of 58.1 percent disapproval in April 2022. With the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats feel their position on abortion will be critical in the upcoming election. Harris came up in January at a Roe v. Wade 50th-anniversary ceremony, criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ adoption of anti-abortion policies. She pushed for federal abortion rights protection.
Democratic donor John Morgan told The New York Times in February that her weakness as vice president will hurt Biden’s reelection effort in 2024. “I can’t think of one thing she’s done except stay out of the way and stand beside him at certain ceremonies,” he said. “Yeah, I actually think a new VP would energize the ticket. Maybe Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Gretchen Whitmer, or Pete,” someone wrote.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey recently praised Harris as an “invaluable asset” who would be powerful in key swing states. Some others supported Harris and slandered Warren. Several suggested that Warren is playing the victim card in order to make up for her January interview gaffe.
The hosts of “The View” praised Harris for not returning Warren’s phone calls and for the work she has done while in office. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Democrats. Listen, here’s the bottom line, Joe Biden is going to be your nominee. Stop talking about how old he is and Kamala Harris is going to be your vice president. So stop fretting. Stop wringing your hands and get behind your ticket,” Ana Navarro said.
“Because on the other side, the alternative is Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. So you, tell me what you prefer. I love this. I love that they – they said in the story – I don’t know if it’s true, that madam vice president is not responding to the calls from Senator Warren. Good. If they’re going to be doing this, don’t show up to fundraise for them. Don’t show up to campaign for them. Don’t pick up their phone calls. Get with the program.”
Some Democratic officials have also voiced alarm that if the Harris criticism continues, it could harm Biden’s candidacy and the party’s future. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon told CNN that the White House is dedicated to Harris becoming a prominent role in Biden’s reelection campaign.
“There is nobody – just like there was nobody who was more prepared to make a decision about who his vice president should be – who understands how critical it is to have a strong partnership and a strong VP out there helping lead the ticket across this country,” O’Malley Dillon said.